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Clippard’s white-knuckle 9th

Jul 16, 2012, 2:00 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Tyler Clippard is congratulated by Jhonatan Solano following a harrowing ninth inning.

MIAMI — Rarely does Tyler Clippard enter a ballgame with the Nationals leading by more than three runs. So perhaps he merely wanted to feel more at home yesterday when he entered for the bottom of the ninth holding a 4-0 lead and then immediately loaded the bases to bring the tying run to plate.

"No, I didn't want to do that at all," Clippard said with a laugh afterward.

He could afford to smile about the situation because he had somehow managed to wriggle his way out of the self-inflicted jam. After surrendering a leadoff single to Greg Dobbs and then issuing back-to-back walks to Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck, Clippard calmly struck out Justin Ruggiano. Then he got Jose Reyes to pop out to the catcher and Omar Infante to loft a foul out down the right-field line,Read more »

  1. Sec.3, My Sofa - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    The obvious question with Storen getting lit up in AA, too, is how to get in that zone when you're basically just practicing.

  2. baseballswami - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    Reminded me of the Chief. Yikes.? He is bound to have the occasional hiccup. It's all good. Should we be worried about Drew?

  3. Grandstander - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    Kazaam! – Situations where closers are brought into a non-save situation and have no idea how to act. The results aren’t pretty.

  4. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Sofa…..the simple answer is " you don't". While getting people out is important to the team and the game, it takes a back seat to mechanics and command.Drew may have gone into the game wanting to work on velocity on his fast ball. That will get you hit pretty hard at any level. I watched him two springs ago get shelled in consecutive outings throwing nothing but his slider. It's all about the work

  5. Tcostant - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    "He wasn't credited with a save, because you can't create your own save situation".You know this wasn't alway the case, quite of few of Bruce Sutter save came just like this, into the game in a non-save situation and then pitched his way into one. I think the rule was changed during toward the end of Sutter's playing days.

  6. NatsLady - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    I'm not going to worry about Clip–but I would think after the Rockies game he would be more cautious, accidents will happen (and almost did in this one). The game is almost too easy for him–as Davey said, his heart isn't pumping until he gets runners on base–but…overconfidence…be careful! As for Drew, I'm a little concerned. I see Davey wanting to stretch him a little (two innings the other day), and not just have a bunch of one-inning guys out there (Davey's own words). So it may be a combination of Drew not being up to strength and Davey preparing to use him in a different role. It's not going to be an easy ride on autopilot to the the NL East Division title.

  7. TimDz - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    FP quipped that Clippard is an adrenaline junkie…This makes as much sense as anything else….

  8. Tcostant - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/07/16/so-whos-available-at-the-trade-deadline/This is the best list of who you could get on the trade market. Frankly, I'd rather stand pat.

  9. ehay2k - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Clippard gets no help from his teammates warming up. That falls on Davey and Rick. But, I'll take the win and be happy to move on. Clippard will be fine. To me, bigger question today is what happens with Zambrano on the mound? Does Bryce get plunked (especially if he shows his bat to Ozzie)? If so, what is the reaction? (Personally, I would love to see a drag bunt where Bryce takes Z out on the 1st base line. Would be SO old school. Prestigious even.) Ahh, baseball. Will the Marlins continue melting down? Will they finish above .500 for the year? I seriously doubt it.

  10. NatsLady - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    TimDz, he is. I watched him do that about a dozen times last year, walk the first guy and take down the side. Same thing this year–after he got over the shoulder soreness and before he was the "closer" he was working himself into jams and out of them. But I noticed when it's hot or the guys are tired, he doesn't goof around, just gets them out as fast as possible. If he does it too much his teammates will get on his case, because they do want to get out of there. OTOH, he needs to be sharp, and as NJ says, the skill and confidence that he CAN get out of a bases-loaded no-out jam is priceless. Sometimes it's about the work.The thing is, Davey has him slotted as the "ninth-inning" guy, not the "closer" who only comes in for saves and just sits around the rest of the time. So Clip will need to conserve his strength (pitch counts) because he will be in there plenty.Are we going to have 100 degree days again, just in time for the Nats coming home? I'm going Wednesday, and probably Friday night and Sat night…

  11. baseballswami - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    We need a nice, clean get away game today, 7 coming up with Mets and Braves. And that's in six days. So just when is the easy part of the schedule? It's imaginary, right ?

  12. #4 - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    It is imaginary. All the NL East games will be dog fights. Even the Phillies as they get healthy will be tough to deal with. That leaves only a handful of "easy" games. It makes it fun though.

  13. Sec.3, My Sofa - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. NatsLady - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    Yup, it's imaginary. No off-day until JULY 30th! Mets (home) Braves (home) Mets(away) Brewers (away).

  15. JD - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    'It's not going to be an easy ride on autopilot to the the NL East Division title.' No one said it was. You just have to win one series at a time. It's waay to early to scoreboard watch etc. It is nice to go into game 4 of a road series up 2-1 and the Mets are this close to playing themselves completely out of it. The Braves are a good team with a very deep lineup, a good bullpen and a killer closer; on the other hand the Nats have better starting pitching quite a margin and have handled the Braves so the outlook is pretty good. The Desmond injury is disturbing and if it's more than a couple of weeks it will hurt.

  16. NatsLady - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Saw this on Twitter:Nathan Fenno ‏@nathanfennoA letter to the editor in today's @MiamiHerald called for 81-year-old Jack McKeon to replace Ozzie Guillen.

  17. Positively Half St. - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Tcostant-I am with you. I hope the Nats stand pat this time. Of course, I also hope they start resting Strasburg so he can pitch into October.What I really want to see is Philadelphia trading some good players into the American League. There would have to be a letdown for them once they admit they are toast, and trading someone like Hamels would cement it, anyway.+1/2St.

  18. baseballswami - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    Or Victorino who no longer appears happy there.

  19. NatsLady - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    JD, right. Am just amused at how the so-called experts assume the Nats will win the division and just discuss the NL wildcards. Nats have some real challenges ahead.- 2 or 3 more games left to play than Mets/Braves. Of course, more chances to win, but also a tighter schedule.- Desi hurt- Stras shutdown- Morse questions- Storen not coming back as soon as hoped- Werth how soon and at what strength?On the good side:- Plenty of home games- ALR known to be "second half guy," so if Davey can make sure he gets a rest here and there, all to the good.- TyMo and Lombo solid in their roles.- Bullpen solid, except Henry who will be used judiciously and Give-up-runs-Gorzy who is useful if you don't expect too much. M. Gonzalez a pleasant surprise!- Rotation solid, knock on wood no injuries (except the planned one, Stras).- RZ coming back to form. Guys are playing hard and the manager is smart and cool-headed. Gonna be a great second half.

  20. #4 - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    The biggest news yesterday for the NL East race may have been Ben Sheets' performance. If he can last the whole season, that would be huge for the Braves. When he's right, he's pretty tough to deal with.

  21. Swift Eagle - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    Some really good posts this morning..There may be a day the Nats coast to a division championship, but not this year! The Braves won't go away, and I'm sure the Nats will have their cold streaks along the way…I have faith, but it won't be easy

  22. Steady Eddie - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    #4 — Sheets' successful return would be big news IF it's sustained.But as the guy's been out literally for years, there's no book on who he is coming back. Plus the Mets aren't that much of a test right now anyway, fading and getting even more debilitated (now Duda out along with Gee).Check back after 3-4 more starts.

  23. MicheleS - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    McCatty will be on ESPN980 at 12:15

  24. NatsLady - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    Agree the trade candidates are not an inspiring, but if Desi is out for a while would we look at this?Darwin Barney would be a nice piece for a team needing a versatile infielder. He isn’t a star by any means, but he’s a career .270 hitter and is outstanding at second, and can also play SS and third.

  25. #4 - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Agreed Steady Eddie. Did you (or anyone else) see his start yesterday? How was his velocity? Was he throwing free and easy? How sharp were his breaking pitches? All I'm looking at are stats and a couple of highlights. It looks like he had command. Tough to tell much from just the numbers though.

  26. NatsLady - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    MicheleS–thanks. Will listen and see if he explains his approach more clearly since he got internet-blasted for the "strikeouts are BS" claim. I love the Cat, and you saw Clip listening pretty d*** closely to that loooooong lecture he got from McCatty yesterday on the mound. But I do wish he would work on how easily guys steal on the Nats' pitchers. You don't like to see a leadoff single become an automatic double (steal), because with small ball (bunt + sac fly) that becomes a run TOO often!

  27. JT - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    My only concern with using TC in non save situations is how many pitches he has to use when he gets himself in jams like yesterday. He could be needed tonight in a real save situation and not be as strong as he needs to be. I would hope that Davey would use someone else in non save situations and only bring in TC when the game demands it, unless he has gone a few days without any game situations and simply needs the work, which I don't think was the case yesterday.

  28. JD - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    I have to take Peric's approach as far as trade talks go. I really don't want us to make a panic trade here giving away what remains of a very thin real prospect list. I think that the SS shutdown (I am for it) is more significant than people think but I would still resist trading pieces like Rendon, Goodwin, Meyer for a rental. I like Dempster a lot and would be prepared to lose a Eury Perez, Kobernus and even Corey Brown for him but I get a hunch that it will take more.

  29. Kirbs - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    As its been pointed out, There is a long and funny history of closers (set up men) being terrible when the game is not on the line.

  30. NatsLady - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    Jon Morosi ‏@jonmorosi#Brewers announce Zack Greinke will not start Wednesday as scheduled. No reason given yet.Really hope he's not going to the Braves…

  31. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    I'm watching the replay of yesterdays game with the Fish and the bat Bryce used in the first clearly had pine tar well beyond the label. I mean blatantly beyond it.

  32. SonnyG10 - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    NatsLady, I'm with you on McCatty doing something about the stealing against our pitchers. We really need improvement in that area.

  33. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    Can't imagine why Brewers wouldn't want to get every available start out of Greinke. Wednesday is too far out; a deal is either imminent or it's not.

  34. NatsLady - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Boz Q&A on now.BOZhttp://live.washingtonpost.com/ask-boswell-120716.html

  35. Steady Eddie - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    #4 — no, I didn't see him, too busy watching the Nats (though I guess I could watch the archive on AtBat).We'll see him soon enough, though. He lines up as pitching against Stras on Friday night. Fortunately the weather looks like a high in the upper 80s, with temps below that by game time. So hopefully the "Stras 4.95 ERA in 90+ degrees games" will not be in play on our side.

  36. NatsLady - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    Boz said this about the stolen bases:Nats pitchers do a mediocre-poor job holding runners. But Nats have only given up the 15th most stolen bases. Maybe other teams will pick on them with the running game more in 2nd half.

  37. NatsLady - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    OTOH, the Nats pitchers have the lowest WHIP, so hard to steal if you don't get on base…!

  38. Fear and Ignorance - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    Smoltz ripping Rizzo for the possibility of shutting down Strasburg. I think he might know a little bit about pitching. Once again, if Rizzo shuts him down instead of skipping starts or going to a 6-man rotation for a few weeks, I will never forgive him. Smoltz even said that something needs to be figured out because you have so many options that allow him to pitch in September and October.

  39. Feel Wood - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    Fear and Ignorance said… Smoltz ripping Rizzo for the possibility of shutting down Strasburg. I think he might know a little bit about pitching. Once again, if Rizzo shuts him down instead of skipping starts or going to a 6-man rotation for a few weeks, I will never forgive him.Okay, I understand your ignorance. But what are you afraid of?

  40. baseballswami - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    Yeah, because the idea of an innings limit for a 23 yr old after surgery is so new and radical, right ? He is one player among all of them. They couldn't possibly be good without him? How insulting to them. Rizzo has been clear from the start. I wish these so-called experts would talk to Jordan, who has said that he understands now why it was for the best last year for him. I don't think it will be an issue. Look at how he has struggled already. He will be toast by then.

  41. Fear and Ignorance - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    Feel Wood-I guess Smoltz is ignorant too, huh!!!"If I were playing GM in this situation, what I'd do is, I'd make sure he pitches in September. I don't care how many games you have to skip to get to that point. Make him pitch every eight days for awhile," Smoltz told ESPN's Colin Cowherd. "You can use the all-star break as a gap to provide that rest. He's going to pitch in the all-star game, so let him do that. And just wait in the back end and in the front end of the all-star game." "You've got to find a way for this guy to pitch in September. And even if it's under the limits. You can't have your fan base…," trailed off Smoltz. "I understand what they are doing to a point. The guys coming back from Tommy John surgery. I understand that. But I think there is ways to play with the schedule, gap it out."

  42. sm13 - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    All the so- called experts don't care if the Nats go on a 5 year run of playoff contention. Rizzo, Swami and I (and others) do care. Stras's longterm health is priority one.

  43. baseballswami - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Davey has addressed that. He wants his young pitchers to pitch the way they will in the rest of their careers, five days, at least six innings.i have been highly critical of Davey on lots of things, but he is right about this. Stephen, who is a kid with a bright future ahead of him, deserves to be developed properly. Six weeks in the minors and short time in the majors is not enough to push him. Can you not see how hard this has been on h already? Are you watching? I will garuntee you that Smoltz hasn 't been.

  44. TimDz - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    Smoltz is looking at this from a players point of view …He (much like SS) is also a fierce competitor and didn't want to hand over the ball no matter what the situation ….I trust Rizzo here…

  45. NatsLady - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    McCatty was very clear. The healing period for TJ is 2 years. He said the Nats FO had done a lot of research on this (wasn't specific as to names of doctors…). Said Stras was young and the idea of doubling, tripling or quadrupling his innings over last year is a complete non-starter (pun not intended by me). So between Stras being under 25 and still recovering from TJ–and also looking like he's been hitting a wall in most recent starts, done, enough already.And it's not just September, it's also October, or what's the point of blowing Stras out in September?Um, Smoltz became a reliever after his TJ. Not exactly the same as Strasburg.He underwent Tommy John surgery prior to the 2000 season, missing the entire year. When he was unable to perform effectively as a starter in 2001, Smoltz made a transition to the bullpen… –wikipediaHe didn't become a starter until three years later!!!So, excuse me, for noticing that his innings were plenty limited!Mr. Smoltz, the fan base is fine. Not to worry.

  46. NatsLady - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    Smoltz's history is the EXACT reason for Rizzo doing what he is with Stras. Unless you want Stras for closer. And we happen to have a closer, if not two or three…

  47. #4 - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    Let's also remember that Smoltz ground himself into a pulp and had to sit out an entire year when he was 33. He then had to return as reliever for several years before his body could take the rigors of starting again. I'm not sure he's the best source of advice.

  48. #4 - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    Sorry NatsLady. You beat me to it.

  49. baseballswami - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    I have heard them say our fan base will revolt–um, no. I have heard them say the players will be demoralized– because they couldn't possibly win without him ? Insulting to them. Again , look at Jordan–poster child for doing it the right way.

  50. John C. - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    F&I, I don't think that Rizzo loses sleep over whether individual fans forgive him. It's more likely that he loses sleep over the prospect of ruining a promising career with perennial all-star potential.The six man rotation is just dumb – because it means that all your other regular starters also lose starts, and are replaced by the #6 guy (John Lannan?). So the team is likely hurt in the standings ultimately. Bonus! With a six man rotation Strasburg still hits the innings limit before October; he just hits it around September 28 instead of September 11.Sitting him down for a stretch has two problems: (1) it's of limited benefit because he would still doing side work, meaning his arm is still undergoing wear & tear; and (2) pitching off his normal rotation is likely to mess with his performance. They tried skipping starts with JZ last year, and whenever they did, JZ really didn't pitch well. That's one reason why they're keeping Strasburg on a regular routine.

  51. MicheleS - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    NatsLady.. Kilgore has a piece on WaPo about not holding runners.

  52. Tcostant - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    Here – here on the Braves. Maybe we should have signed Sheets for those September Stras starts and to keep him away from the Braves!

  53. Sec.3, My Sofa - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    One could have a worse career than John Smoltz's. So could Strasburg. Just saying. I still shut him down, and he's wrong about the fan base–perhaps he's thinking of Atlanta's fans, or Philly's–but Smoltz, like Orel Hershheiser, who said much the same thing, is looking at from the perspective of a player who would give his right arm to win a World Series, and assumes Strasburg would, too.

  54. peric - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:34 PM

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  55. peric - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    Darwin Barney would be a nice piece for a team needing a versatile infielder. He isn’t a star by any means, but he’s a career .270 hitter and is outstanding at second, and can also play SS and third.Who are Carlos Rivero and Mark Teahen? And Rivero is already on the 40-man roster! There's a reason for that. They don't need Darwin Barney, right now that's DeRosa and Lombardozzi and if they can't handle it Rivero and Teahen are up next. I don't see where Barney is a better choice than those two and Josh Johnson is back plus they've got a very hot prospect shortstop third bagger named Zach Walters who is hitting .344 in AA? This is exactly the sort of nonsense Riggleman would, in panic, espouse. Hopefully, Riggleman is learning that prospects can play this game while managing the Blue Wahoos. Not everyone has to be "politically connected" and 35+ to be a veteran coming off the bench.

  56. Tcostant - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    For any of the people on these board who question the decision to shut down Strasburg, please read the following links. Besides the TJ surgry Strasburg is still a young pitcher who is getting his innings ramped up.I pulled these links quick, feel free to search for the rest.http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/tom_verducci/01/11/verducci.effect/index.htmlhttp://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/tom_verducci/02/16/verducci.effect/index.html?eref=sihphttp://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/tom_verducci/04/07/yearafter.effect/index.htmlhttp://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/tom_verducci/11/28/pitchers/index.htmlShutting Strasburg down, is the right and smart thing to do.

  57. Sec.3, My Sofa - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    Hear! Hear! tcostant, and There, there… Ozzie.

  58. peric - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    I still shut him down, and he's wrong about the fan base–perhaps he's thinking of Atlanta's fans, or Philly's–but Smoltz, like Orel Hershheiser, who said much the same thing, is looking at from the perspective of a player who would give his right arm to win a World Series, and assumes Strasburg would, too.And Smoltz isn't the guy who invested quite a sizable chunk of change in the player. Over the long-term you've got a better chance of having the player in your rotation longer if you shut him down. There's no guarantee you get to the world series with or without Stras. Its better to get multiple chances at the ring on the merry go round as opposed to only one circle.

  59. peric - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:41 PM

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  60. peric - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    The six man rotation is just dumb – because it means that all your other regular starters also lose starts,F&I is an Oriole fan. Dylan Bundy? Beh … looks to me like Goodwin and Meyer will be advancing much faster than the much vaunted Ori'hole prospects eh F&I.Beh. Don't listen to him.

  61. JD - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    Peric, I agree with your point in principle but in all fairness Walters has only played 25 games in AA; before that he hit .269 in 54 games at Potomac. Last year he hit .292 in 30 games at Potomac so the jury is still out. I don't think either Rivero or Teahen plays any SS. I think Bynum (31 year old journeyman) play SS at AAA.

  62. JD - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    Peric, Again. You have to be fair in your commentary to be taken seriously. Bundy is 19 and is already one level higher than Meyer who is 21. I don't know about you but I would love to have his upside on my team.

  63. Fear and Ignorance - Jul 16, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    Tcostant-Kerry Wood followed the Verducci Plan to a T. How did that work out? Just like Smoltz said…the medical information they are using to say Strasburg should get shut down will be obsolete in 10 years. Just about every HOF pitcher went against the "Verducci Effect" and very few ever had arm problems. The point is, there is no long-term evidence to support the Verducci effect. And we are talking about an extra 20-25 innings…not 50-75. Not one person on this blog can find any medical information to state that there is an increased risk of injury if he pitches 180 instead of 160. If that were the case, why not just shut him down now because that is obviously less risky than letting him pitch 160 innings. I'm sorry, but I don't get the difference between 160 and 180…certainly not at the expense of shutting down our ace and one of the best pitchers in the league. If he looks fatigued in September…fine…shut him down. To flatly state that he is done at 160 (which I still haven't heard) that is insane. I realize this topic is beyond the "beating a dead horse" stage, but ask the Red Sox and Cubs how hard it is to get to a World Series. This may be the Nationals best shot even if they are a very good team for the next 10 years. On paper (and on the field so far) no team in the NL is better than the Nats (not even close if they hit the ball) and chances like this don't come along very often.

  64. Fear and Ignorance - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    Peric-Yes, I would absolutely take Bundy and Machado over anything in the Nats system…and it isn't even close. They are #2 and #3 in the prospect rankings. We have Rendon, who has already had 3 major injuries, at #44 and nobody else. You talk about prospects on the Nationals like no other organization has a minor league system. I grew up watching the Orioles, so yes, I am still a fan. Many in the area are fans of both teams…it is called loyalty!!! The Nats are now my hometown team, but that doesn't mean I am going to start hating the Orioles.

  65. Sec.3, My Sofa - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    F&I is certainly right that this subject is beaten to death.Here's a related one, maybe worth kicking around a bit? Assuming the Nats do win the division, how important is having a roster with playoff experience (since they mostly don't)? Do teams that are a lot more familiar with the playoff environment have a significant advantage over teams that don't? I think the general assumption is that, when there is a big disparity, it's an advantage.

  66. NatsLady - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    The problem is it's NOT the difference between 160 and 180, it's the difference between 160 and 200-220 if you want Stras to pitch in the playoffs. Also, people talk as if Stras pitching is a guarantee at a WS–he's not. So you could be risking his career, or a good portion of it for an attempt at a WS.

  67. Jim Zurer - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:17 PM

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  68. Jim Zurer - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    >>"I probably took a little bit for granted the length of the previous inning," he said. "I don't think I threw enough pitches as I needed to get loose in the bullpen. That's on me.<<Charlie and Dave speculated on this yesterday on the radio broadcast. Their solution: Send Burnett back out to the mound to warm up in the bottom of the 9th. If Ozzie leaves Dobbs in the game, let Burnett pitch to him and then bring in Clippard. If he pinch-hits for Dobbs, you bring in Clippard. He will have had that much additional time to warm up.

  69. Fear and Ignorance - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    Sofa,Good question. I think if anyone had the answer to that they would be working in a front office somewhere. 1st time participants in the World Series generally don't fare too well, but on the other hand, the Braves had plenty of experience back in the 1990's and 2000's and that didn't seem to help them too much. I do think a guy like DeRosa could be valuable in the playoffs, though. Veterans like him seem to turn it up a notch…old guys need that adrenaline rush a little more. I think the young guys may need more of an adrenaline dump.

  70. natsfan1a - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    They also talk as though the team's reaching the playoffs would guarantee that they'd reach the WS. Eh, not so much. Smoltz, for one, would know all about that. ;-)NatsLady said… Also, people talk as if Stras pitching is a guarantee at a WS–he's not. So you could be risking his career, or a good portion of it for an attempt at a WS. July 16, 2012 2:11 PM

  71. peric - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:33 PM

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  72. Feel Wood - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    Sec.3, My Sofa said… F&I is certainly right that this subject is beaten to death.But we still don't know what he's afraid of.

  73. natsfan1a - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:37 PM

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  74. natsfan1a - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:37 PM

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  75. peric - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    I don't think either Rivero or Teahen plays any SS. I think Bynum (31 year old journeyman) play SS at AAA.Rivero like Walters can play shortstop. They've just kept him at third base in Syracuse. Its not Davey and the Nats haven't done this before. They reached down to AA for a catcher named Sandy Leon. And Davey has a history of reaching pretty low for what he needs and finding a lot of success when he did.Bynum with his 10 errors is not an option except they should give the guy his cup of coffee at some point. He's been in the organization starting in the low minors his entire adult life. He started with the Expos. And Ori'hole fan Fear and Ignorance? I'll take the upside on Meyer and Giolito. Meyer hasn't finished growing. I like the Nat's system over the Orioles with Machado and Angel'O's.Finally Ori'hole Fear and Ignorance stop with the Stras not getting shut down. The Nats have successes with TJ but also failures. It sure looks like poor Jack McGreary and sandwich first rounder Josh Smoker. McGreary is now throwing in the low 80's like JD Martin after his surgery. Don't listen to Ori'hole fans, they, like their owner, find lots of glee in Nat's failures. They can't help it, it's a disease. Thus the name Fear and [Ori'hole] Ignorance. "Luke, don't give in to hating!" :)

  76. natsfan1a - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:39 PM

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  77. Fear and Ignorance - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Feel Wood-Love your show…you are the new Bob Ross. Can you say NAP-itude!!!

  78. peric - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    This may be the Nationals best shot even if they are a very good team for the next 10 years. On paper (and on the field so far) no team in the NL is better than the Nats (not even close if they hit the ball) and chances like this don't come along very often.The Braves are currently on a seven game winning streak. I wouldn't count out the Phillies, the Dodgers, the Giants, and the Reds. Again, there are no guarantees. The Nats have a great record to this point, but then, so did the team in 2005 and it was pretty close to what they are now? What happened to them Fear and Oriole Bird? You probably wouldn't know as you were watching the Orioles.

  79. peric - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    But we still don't know what he's afraid of.That the Nat's farm system, the organization, and the major league team ar better than his beleaguered Orioles. What else?

  80. Fear and Ignorance - Jul 16, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    Peric-When you compare the talent on this team to 2005…you lose all credibility. This team is arguably better at every position on the field!!!

  81. baseballswami - Jul 16, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    I can see the limit for tj survivors being 180–if, only if, it is an older player who has pitched a lo in the past . Strassie is a baby. Hardly anyi minors, probably still growing into his body. Never had a full season. 30 with lots of seasons under your belt? Maybe. Not someone who is at the very beginning . Besides, you say 180, that gets questioned, also. I respect the organization for having a firm policy and sticking to it. Again—-Jordan last season and thus season. They have the template.

  82. John C. - Jul 16, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    F&I, I wouldn't trade the Nationals' farm system for that of the O's … but Machado and Bundy are the real deal. If Rendon can get healthy he may be better offensively than Machado, but Machado produces at a position where offense is at more of a premium. Bundy's ceiling is higher than Meyers' ceiling. That said, going with Smoltz (whose record after TJ urges caution that he does not seem to recognize) because the Verducci Effect has been largely debunked is slaying a straw man. It's not the Verducci Effect that is leading the Nats to be careful with Strasburg – it's the advice of medical experts concerning the recovery time from TJ surgery. They are two different things.

  83. Tcostant - Jul 16, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    If Rendon can get healthy he may be better offensively than Machado?What? If I play the lotto, I may win millions too!Rendon needs to play more than a month in the minors, before he can be compare to one of the best prosects in all of baseball. Stop that!

  84. John C. - Jul 16, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    Tcostant, the cheap condescension doesn't serve you well. Even with the injury this year Rendon is one of the best prospects in all of baseball (#40 by Keith Law; #34 by John Sickels at minor league ball. That's because of his bat; Rendon's offensive potential is one thin grade below the Mike Trout/Bryce Harper level. On the other hand, offense is not what makes Machado special; his OPS at AA baseball is .756, which is quite good – for a 20yo shortstop – but is hardly earth shattering. For comparison, the Nationals have several players producing more at AA Harrisburg, including 22yo SS Zach Walters who is OPSing .991. Nor is this an "adjustment period" for Machado – his career minor league OPS is .760.This is not to denigrate Machado AT ALL – what makes Machado a better overall prospect than any of these players is his potential to produce decent-to-good offensive numbers while playing plus defense at a defense-first position.So, despite your snide lotto comment, it's not a longshot proposition at all to say that Rendon, one of the best college hitters to come along in the past few years, has a good chance to be better offensively than Machado. So I stand by my earlier assessment, which was that Rendon is more likely to be an impact offensive player, but Machado is more likely to have a greater total impact. And if you can't see that, well, you're just not paying attention.

  85. Tcostant - Jul 17, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    John C come down. There is no doubt in my mind that Rendon will fall in any best prospects in all of baseball, including Law and Sickels because health does count. I want Rendon to become Scott Rolen, but this book has way more to go. I just think the Nationals fan base has to high expection for draft picks. Strasburg and Harper were one in a decade prospects for hitting and pitching, and got to the bigs quick. This is not normal. I have no idea if Machado will have a better career than Rendon, but I know that I would trade Rendon for Machado, right now, in a New York minite. That is all I'm saying.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 78 58 -- 19
ATLANTA 72 66 7.0
MIAMI 67 69 11.0
NEW YORK 64 74 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 63 74 15.5
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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